The Beat of Business: Music Business Blogs Digest – Sep 30, 2023

Welcome to the newest edition of The Beat of Business:, a digest dedicated to music business!

Today’s music world is not just about producing great tracks, but also about the art of spotting opportunities, inventing new methods, and understanding market trends. Entrepreneurs, whether they are successful musicians themselves or savvy business individuals behind the scenes, play a crucial role in driving the music industry forward. In this week’s edition, we’re going to explore a range of stories that highlight practical strategies and real-life experiences from those who have successfully navigated the entrepreneurial path in music.

Festival Disasters: Burning Man 2023 and the Worst Festivals in History

By: Ashley King, www.digitalmusicnews.com

This blog post examines some of the most tragic events in music festival history. While 2023 saw a robust festival season, there were setbacks like the issues at Burning Man and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival. However, these events paled in comparison to past disasters. Examples include the fatal crowd crush at Astroworld in 2021; the violence at Woodstock ’99, which led to reports of sexual harassment, deaths, and hospitalizations; the infamous Fyre Festival scam in 2017; and several other events marked by poor security, overcrowding, and unfortunate accidents, resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries. Read more

When Taylor Swift reaps country-sized riches, other artists are squeezed out | Martha Gill

By: Martha Gill, www.theguardian.com

Martha Gill’s article discusses the disproportionate fame and success seen in the music and arts industry, using Taylor Swift as a central example. Swift’s vast influence, demonstrated by her academic courses, immense economic power, and pervasive presence in media, highlights an issue where a select few artists dominate, leaving little room for upcoming talent. While artists like Swift achieve unimaginable success, others barely earn a living wage. On platforms like Spotify, only 1% of musicians obtain 90% of the earnings. This lopsided fame economy doesn’t only affect up-and-comers but can also harm established stars through excessive criticism or sycophancy, impacting their mental health. Gill argues that the industry’s structure, which heavily relies on luck rather than just talent, is problematic for both emerging and established artists. The article concludes by questioning a system that elevates a handful of artists while failing to support the vast majority. Read more

Harnessing Data in Music: A Guide for Independent Artists

By: Editorial, dottedmusic.com

Streaming platforms, particularly Spotify, provide tools like audience segmentation, which allows artists to understand listener interactions beyond basic metrics. This segmentation categorizes listeners into groups such as active audience, super listeners, and programmed audience. Recognizing these categories empowers artists to tailor their marketing efforts. For example, they can engage their active audience with exclusive content, use nostalgia campaigns for previously active listeners, or pitch to popular playlists to capture the programmed audience. Ultimately, leveraging these insights isn’t merely about numbers but about fostering long-term relationships with fans, ensuring artists’ music remains resonant and relevant in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Read more

Impersonation is the Highest Form of Flattery, or is it? The Danger of AI Generated Music

By: Annie Chipchase, www.thembj.org

This blog post discusses the legal and ethical concerns surrounding AI-generated music, emphasizing the risk it poses to artists’ rights over their own voice. With advancements in AI, there’s an ability to produce music that sounds indistinguishably like well-known artists. The article uses the example of DJ David Guetta creating a new song using Eminem’s voice that mimicked the rapper so closely that listeners believed it was him. Such technological capabilities bring to the forefront the issue of copyright, especially around “sound-alikes” or covers meant to resemble the original closely. Drawing on the Midler v. Ford Motor Co. case, which revolved around the unauthorized use of a sound-alike of Bette Midler’s voice, Chipchase underscores the importance of artists’ rights to their unique voice as part of their identity. She contends that in the face of the AI revolution, there needs to be federal legislation ensuring voice is included as a category of Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) rights to adequately protect artists in this digital age. Read more

Live Nation Scraps Merch Fees And Is Even Giving Back Money

By: Bobby Owsinski, music3point0.com

Live Nation has decided to cease its practice of charging artists for merchandising fees in its venues. Historically, these fees could range from a flat rate to as much as 35% of the revenue, often leaving artists with a minimal profit from their merchandise sales. In a surprising move, Live Nation will also be reimbursing artists, offering $1,500 to both headliners and opening acts to offset touring costs. While the decision appears generous, it is part of a larger initiative in collaboration with Willie Nelson named “On the Road Again”, aimed at supporting emerging artists and crew at club level. Moreover, there’s speculation that Live Nation’s decision was influenced by potential congressional scrutiny, as Congress had shown interest in investigating the company’s merch fee practice. Regardless of the motivation, removing these fees will certainly benefit artists, especially those struggling financially. Read more

BMI’s Dark Eureka

By: Chris Castle, musictechpolicy.com

The blog post discusses concerns raised by the SAG-AFTRA union and four songwriter groups about a proposed business model change and possible sale by BMI. These groups had publicly raised questions about BMI’s intentions in two letters, and the author notes that a month has passed without a public response. The post underscores that unanswered questions in public forums often stem from prior ignorance or dismissal, leading to increased scrutiny. Drawing parallels with Spotify’s past actions, the writer emphasizes that ignoring or delaying responses to such inquiries is both disrespectful and raises suspicion about internal hierarchies and potential preferential treatment. The author warns that if such assumptions are confirmed, especially after potential monetary gains from the rumored sale, it could result in significant damage to BMI’s reputation. Read more

New IRS Rule Affects Concert Ticket Resellers

By: Liza Anderson, musicrow.com

A new ruling by the IRS requires ticketing companies to report if customers sold more than $600 in resale tickets in 2023. This change was made effective with the 2023 tax year and includes proceeds from payment apps, online marketplaces, and third-party settlement companies. The ruling follows popular tours such as Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour,’ Beyonce’s ‘Renaissance Tour,’ and Zach Bryan’s ‘The Burn, Burn, Burn Tour,’ which had resale tickets listed for thousands of dollars on third-party sites. Read more

It’s Not a Phase, Mom: The 2000s Emo Music Revival

By: Karen Fischer, hmc.chartmetric.com

This blog post delves into the resurgence of 2000s emo music, led by iconic bands such as My Chemical Romance and the Used. The article highlights how, in the midst of modern-day challenges, there’s a palpable longing for the emotional catharsis this genre once provided. The music, intrinsically introspective and deeply emotional, served as an outlet for angst-filled youths navigating the complexities of the 2000s, from the Great Recession to the dynamics of a pre-social media world. Streaming metrics reveal a global revival, with significant fanbases emerging in locations like Jakarta, Indonesia. Furthermore, Gen Z listeners, who were mere infants during the genre’s initial popularity, dominate the demographics, showcasing the cross-generational appeal of emo music. As festivals and tours revive and promote this genre, it remains to be seen if emo music will reclaim its past glory or remain a cherished nostalgic phase for the original fanbase. Read more

5 Artists You Should Know: Classical Music

By: Alejandra Orellana, www.dailyrindblog.com

September marks Classical Music Month in the US, and to celebrate, the blog introduces five rising stars in the classical music genre. These talented musicians, originating from different parts of the world, have showcased their prowess through various performances and albums. The artists include Danbi Um, a violinist inspired by early Hollywood music with recent debuts at notable chamber music societies; Elgan Llŷr Thomas, a singer from North Wales with recent performances in international operas; Chicago-based violinist Clarissa Bevilacqua, known for her album “Dream Catcher” which received international acclaim; Ashley Jackson, a versatile harpist with performances alongside renowned orchestras and albums celebrating Black American composers; and conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia, celebrated for his breathtaking performances and albums, balancing his musical career with a love for nature and meditation. Read more

Conclusion

As we conclude this week’s edition of The Beat of Business, we hope the stories and insights shared have shed light on the diverse, challenging, and rewarding journey of music entrepreneurship. Stay tuned for our next issue, where we will continue to explore the ever-evolving world of music through the lens of entrepreneurship.

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